Hometown Proud and Fun: Naches - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hometown Proud and Fun: Naches

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NACHES, WA - Imagine going back home and getting a big hug from mom and dad... well, that's exactly what our reporters felt while visiting Naches.

After many requests, they checked out a restaurant that welcomes everyone with open arms.

Locals come into Margaret's Apple Cart Deli for food and for a good time.

"It's just a fun place to come for lunch and we meet people we have known for years in the community," said George Allan, a customer.

Customers say they keep coming back because of the environment Margaret has created.

"I come in almost everyday for lunch," admitted Jerry Hobbs, a customer. "And like I say it isn't just for the food, which is good, but it's because I feel welcomed; it's like family."

And family is what Margaret treats everyone like. Thinking about her customers even gets her a little emotional.

"I want them to know they are welcome and God loves them," Margaret St. Martin said.

And if you come in on your birthday, you'll get the whole restaurant wishing you the best.

Margaret has been providing that type of unconditional service for 12 years now. Unfortunately you won't catch the restaurant open on the weekends, because Margaret says she has grandchildren who play sports and church on Sunday.

Our reporters also got to visit a second scenic destination. 18 miles west of Naches, between Highway 410 and the Naches River, life slows down at the Elk Ridge Campground... and its guests travel back in time.

"The entire property's been here since the late 1800's, early 1900's," said Tim and Julie Hoefer, the owners. "From what the stories have been told, two brothers owned it. They owned it until about 1933-34 when they sold it."

In 2015, the Hoefers bought Elk Ridge - trading in the fast-paced west side for the calm of the Cascade Mountains.

"We put a lot of sweat equity into the place and we have met a lot of really great people."

Elk Ridge is bursting with history. The lodge was built in 1928, and the oldest cabin is 120 years old. In fact, each cabin has a name and a story to go with it.

"The River Jack is actually because it floated down the river," said Hoefer. "Whiskey Stills because it had a whiskey still during prohibition. Scale House because the guy who ran the scales when they logged this pass back in the early 1900's, that's where he lived."

Elk Ridge also has its own spa, and guests rent the entire campground for family reunions, birthday parties, and even weddings.

"It's just beautiful, it's natural, and people want that natural rustic setting."

Despite all of the amenities, For Tim and Julie, Elk Ridge Campground is about much more than that.

"It's just creating an experience that you don't get anyplace else," Julie explained. "We're not Disneyland, but it's amazing to me how people keep calling us magical. The most important thing to us was how people felt when they were here. What is really important to both Tim and I is that people feel welcome and special and we just try really hard to make them feel that way."

Elk Ridge Campground is open for camping all year long. They say one of the coolest attractions is the thousands of fireflies that light up the meadow at night.

For more information on this awesome getaway, visit elkridgecampground.com.

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